Some of the issues divorcing couples face are: (1) alimony; (2) child support; (3) division of marital assets, liabilities, income, and expenses; (4) custody; and (5) the parenting schedule. Mediation is an effective means of addressing these issues as well as post-divorce issues, such as changes in child custody, the parenting schedule, child support, and alimony.
Mediation is a voluntary confidential settlement process in which an impartial mediator meets with the couple to assist and guide them in discussing the issues they wish to resolve. The mediator’s facilitation and direction empower the clients to sculpt an agreement that best meets their individual as well as the transforming family’s needs and interests. Each Mediation session typically lasts two to three hours.
The cornerstones of Mediation are commitment and transparency. In order for Mediation to succeed, each spouse must be committed to the process since it is a voluntary process. Further, each spouse must trust that the other will disclose all assets and income in which he or she has any interest whatsoever. Since the clients are actively involved in the problem solving and decision making, they become emotionally invested in their agreement, communication is often enhanced, and clients are much more likely to develop and maintain a healthy, positive post-divorce relationship.
While the mediator is often an attorney, he or she does not represent either party. Each spouse should, therefore, engage independent legal counsel to be available to him or her for guidance and legal advice during the mediation process. If the mediator is an attorney, he or she usually drafts the Separation Agreement for the clients and their attorneys to review.
- Provides a private, out-of-court forum in which to discuss and negotiate issues.
- Encourages mutual and creative problem solving.
- Requires full financial disclosure and transparency.
- Is often more cost-effective than other processes.
- Provides an opportunity to craft a sustainable agreement that best meets everyone’s needs and interests.